"SMEs need to focus on authentic and positive community building with TikTok"

TikTok has unveiled a hub for Switzerland that is designed to help SMEs implement campaigns. m&k Werbewoche.ch asked Lisa Friedrich, Head of SMB at TikTok EMEA, what the aim of the new solution is.

m&k: Lisa Friedrich, TikTok introduces a hub for small and medium-sized enterprises in Switzerland. What is it exactly?

Lisa Friedrich: With our SME Hub, we make it easy for small and medium-sized businesses to set up and manage TikTok campaigns on their own. With this solution, we have clearly kept the reality of smaller companies in mind and designed the processes accordingly. You won't find large marketing departments at SMEs, and time and budget are also often tight. But nevertheless, people with enormous creative power work there. Supported by the Ads Manager suitable target groups can be quickly identified and campaigns go live within minutes.


Do SMEs have to use a different marketing strategy on TikTok than large companies?

For small and medium-sized companies in particular, it is very important to rely on authentic and positive community building in order to make a lasting impression on potential customers. In contrast to the possibilities and budgets of the advertising departments of larger companies, every franc counts for SMEs. In concrete terms, this means that we provide SMEs with a lot of information, tips and assistance on how they can use TikTok as a platform and our community for their marketing goals, acquire new customers and retain existing ones. We also have a SME Guide so that SMEs can quickly understand TikTok and take the right measures in each case. To help companies better familiarize themselves with TikTok Ads Manager, there is also the SMB Academy.


Which target groups do companies reach on TikTok? Are they relevant as buyers at all?

Most marketers naturally associate TikTok with target groups such as Gen Z and millenials, whom they have difficulty reaching on traditional channels. However, the majority of users are older than many people think: More than two-thirds of the community is of a Study according to the survey, are over 25 years old. In our opinion, however, the users' mindsets are more important than their age, because many of them have a common desire to "discover" new things. They are on the platform primarily to find content and trends that are relevant to them, as well as products. We recently conducted a study together with Publicis Groupe and WARC to investigate the influence of social communities on purchasing decisions. Here, the impact of "community commerce," i.e., the combination of community, entertainment and commerce, became clear once again. More than 70 percent of respondents were inspired to make purchases, even though they didn't actually want to buy anything.


What other marketing benefits are there on TikTok?

In addition to campaigns that target brand awareness, TikTok can also deliver strong performance results. The community is not only creative and inclusive, but also has strong buying power. Branded content is not perceived as a foreign body, as long as it fits the culture of the platform - therein lies our great strength and a real opportunity, especially for smaller companies. Hashtags like #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt, with over 6.4 billion views, and #TikTokReviews, with over 3.7 billion views, show how users are increasingly enthusiastic about sharing products that fascinate them with the community.


How is TikTok different from other social networks for marketers?

We don't see ourselves primarily as a social network where users can network with each other, but define ourselves first and foremost as a content and entertainment platform. For us, content is at the center and forms the starting point for exchange between users, creators and brands. Even without many followers, new content can spread very quickly and find an audience if it speaks the language of our community.

TikTok is currently in a tremendous growth phase: The platform is used by over one billion people worldwide every month. The Kantar study according to hashtag challenges, for example, generate more attention than primetime ads or cultural and sporting events.


Why is that?

TikTok users are looking for inspiration and want to try new things. Brands that recognize this and offer entertaining content benefit from the enormous reach and high interaction on the platform. As a result, they achieve significantly better conversions and a higher return on investment. For example, campaign effectiveness tracking has shown that consumers' purchase intent is 2.6 times higher after seeing an ad on TikTok compared to industry standards.


SMEs often have a strong local connection and a corresponding target group. What forms of geographic targeting does TikTok offer?

Since we started operating in Europe, we have taken a local approach. This is reflected in the many local contents and trends. The Swiss community is creative and interested in a wide range of topics, from football to food to anime. Swiss users also value diversity - hashtags like #lgbtq and #KPop are very popular. I love how TikTok brings people and brands together through shared passions and interests. Brands like @switzerlandtourism (LINK), for example, inspire the community with local nature, the perfect day in Bern, a guide to fondue, or the history of the 100-franc bill - and receive high interaction in return. The brands don't have to deliver perfectly polished ads, but have human and comprehensible content. Because that's how they reach the community.


Why is TikTok's SME Hub relevant in the Swiss market?

SMEs play a crucial role in the Swiss economy. According to the Swiss Federal Statistical Office, they make up more than 99 percent of businesses and provide two-thirds of jobs in the country. On TikTok, brands can use popular hashtags like. #Small business, #SmallBusinessCheck or #SmallBusiness to share their own company story and journey with others and build a following. With TikTok, SMEs can also tap into a large community of engaged and like-minded businesses.


How do SMEs reach their ideal community?

With TikTok Ads Manager, precise targeting is possible, addressing the right audience based on gender, age, location, interests and much more. Thematically, there is something for every company and all potential customers. We are also currently working on introducing city targeting for selected cities in Switzerland. This will offer even more opportunities to target and interact with our local community.

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